The Metaverse could bring more than $80 billion in additional annual GDP to the MENA region by 2035, according to a new Deloitte report, “The Metaverse and the Potential of MENA.”
Part of a series of reports commissioned by Meta, the study explores the Metaverse and how technologies such as augmented and virtual reality are being applied in innovative ways and the potential economic opportunities. We are investigating what we need to do to maximize it.
“The Metaverse will be a collection of technologies, platforms and products built by a diverse range of companies that will open up incredible new creative and commercial opportunities in the Middle East and North Africa and around the world,” said Middle East Regional Director. Fares Akkad said. Meta East and Africa.
Saudi Arabia and the UAE are taking the lead with their “Vision 2030” and “We the UAE 2031” plans, reflecting the region’s diversified growth plans with digitalization at its core.
Saudi Arabia’s government spending on technology is the highest in the world, accounting for 21.7% of total technology spending, said Ahmed Mohammed Al-Suyan, head of the digital government agency, at the Global Entrepreneurship Conference in Riyadh last year. rice field.
Similarly, Egypt’s Vision 2030, Jordan’s Vision 2025 and Morocco’s Horizon 2025 plans are all aimed at boosting the country’s growth through digital transformation.
The study suggests that the emergence of the Metaverse could well support the MENA countries’ digital innovation and technology goals.
Two of the region’s leading countries have already invested heavily in this sector. Saudi Arabia has invested $1 billion in cyberspace-related projects, and Dubai has launched a Metaverse strategy aimed at “making Dubai one of the world’s top 10 metaverse economies.” “
As interest and adoption of the Metaverse grow across the region, commercial use cases such as virtual concerts and tourism are already beginning to emerge, demonstrating how consumers can benefit from this technology.
As cyberspace evolves, the region’s potential will be maximized, but the key areas highlighted in the report today are those where the metaverse has had and will continue to do so. Gaming, tourism, retail, and real estate.
MENA is one of the fastest growing gaming industries in the world, according to a study, with Saudi Arabia investing nearly $40 billion in the sector. The Metaverse is expected to accelerate this growth through new forms of augmented reality, virtual reality gaming, and esports.
Tourism, which accounts for 19% of GDP in Jordan, 12% in Egypt and 11% in Morocco, will benefit from the power of the Metaverse to provide potential tourists with virtual experiences and pique their interest in physical experiences. This is an area that can be taken.
For example, the Royal Commission for AlUla created a Metaverse experience that allows users to virtually visit and experience the Lihyan Tomb, a World Heritage Site in Hegra.
MENA’s retail industry is worth $1 trillion, and a staggering 73 percent of consumers have shopped more online since the pandemic. The growth of e-commerce presents an opportunity for retailers to enhance the online shopping experience through augmented and virtual reality that facilitates online shopping challenges such as trying on clothes.
For example, IKEA has created virtual reality experiences in Kuwait, Jordan and Morocco, claiming a 20% increase in foot traffic and sales.
The real estate sector, which is important to hubs such as Dubai, could see further growth by implementing virtual previews and creating new markets for virtual land.
For example, UAE-based real estate developer DAMAC, which offers augmented and virtual reality tours, plans to invest $100 million in digital cities.
The cyberspace ecosystem is still in its infancy and reaching its full potential depends on “the right digital infrastructure to attract investment, foster innovation, and facilitate access to metaverse applications. It depends on a enabling environment beyond Internet Service Providers, such as digital skills, regulations, etc.” report.
Developed countries such as Saudi Arabia and the UAE are likely to see faster and more widespread adoption. But further diversification is needed to create a “dynamic private business environment with incentives for innovation and investment,” the study said.
In countries such as Egypt, Jordan and Morocco, disparities in digital infrastructure, skills and affordability can slow adoption rates, hindering the implementation of advanced technologies and the emergence of innovative use cases. .
Based on projections for Metaverse-related ICT investment worldwide, the study estimated that Metaverse technology could ultimately be worth $20.2 billion to $38.1 billion in Saudi Arabia, $11.6 billion to $22 billion in Egypt, and $88 billion in Saudi Arabia. estimated to support an annual economic contribution of $16.6 billion to $16.6 billion. UAE, Morocco $2.6 billion to $5 billion, Jordan $900 million to $1.7 billion by 2035.
Meta’s Akkad said, “As this study shows, these technologies may be virtual, but their economic impact will be very real.”
“Unlocking this potential is critical and can only be achieved through the efforts and collaboration of technology companies, policy makers, civil society and others.”